Tuesday, 25 August 2020

New Tanks

"Decree of the Committee of Defense of the Council of People's Commissars #198ss
On the RKKA Tank Armament System

August 7th, 1938
Top Secret

Taking into account the experience of combat and study as well as the requirements for tanks on the modern battlefield, the Committee of Defense decrees that the following tank system will be adopted.
  1. Tanks
    1. Breakthrough tank (anti-tank gun destroyer): tracked type produced according to ABTU requirements developed at the tank meeting and approved by the People's Commissar of Defense (attachment #1).
      1. The People's Commissar of Machinebuilding (NKMash) must deliver an experimental breakthrough tank by May 1st, 1939. Produce a wooden model and show it to the commission on September 1st, 1938.
      2. The People's Commissar of Defense Industry (NKOP) must produce and deliver to the People's Commissar of Defense an experimental breakthrough tank for trials by July 1st, 1939. A model of this tank must be approved by the model commission by November 1st, 1938.
      3. The NKO must test all experimental breakthrough tank prototypes and select the one most closely matching requirements for a breakthrough tank to accept into service in the RKKA.
      4. As soon as the tank is put into production, remove the T-28 and T-35 from production.
    2. In order to continue improving tanks, build three experimental type of tanks (two tracked and one convertible with 6 powered wheels) according to ABTU requirements discussed at the tank meeting. Make one of the tracked tanks a chemical tank. 
      1. The NKOP must produce and deliver prototypes of these tanks to the NKO for trials by June 1st, 1939. A wooden model must be presented to the model commission by October 1st, 1938.
      2. The NKO must subject the tanks to trials and choose the one more closely matching requirements.
    3. The People's Commissar of Machinebuilding must build three light tanks with improved armour (two tracked and one convertible) at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory according to the tactical-technical requirements approved by the People's Commissar of Defense. Make one of the tracked tanks a chemical tank.
      1. Deliver two prototypes, a tracked and a convertible one, to the NKO for trials by January 1st, 1939. Deliver the second tracked tank by July 1st, 1939. A wooden model must be presented to the model commission by September 1st, 1938.
      2. The NKO must put the tanks through trials alongside the T-26 tank to determine which of the tanks will replace the T-26.
    4. Create a tracked amphibious tank with a more powerful engine, armour, and armament to replace the T-37 and T-38 according to tactical-technical requirements approved by the People's Commissar of Defense by January 1st, 1939. Present a wooden model to the model commission by September 1st, 1938.
    5. Produce tracks that last at least 3000 km. NKOP: for the T-26 and BT tanks, NKMash: for T-28 tanks.
  2. Armoured cars
    1. Continue production of BA-10 and BA-20 armoured cars. Improve and reinforce their chassis, armour, and crew comfort (lists ##7, 8, 9, 10).
    2. The NKMash and NKOP must provide light and medium armoured cars with the following characteristics for trials by December 1st, 1938:
      1. Light armoured car on a three-axle chassis produced by the Molotov factory:
        1. Armour that protects from a regular 7.62 mm bullet at all ranges.
        2. 6-cylinder 75 hp motor.
        3. 2 light machine guns.
        4. Top speed: 70 kph
        5. Cruising range: 300 km
        6. Combat weight: 3-3.5 tons
      2. Medium armoured car on the ZIS factory chassis:
        1. Armour that protects from armour piercing 7.62 mm bullets at all ranges.
        2. 90-100 hp motor.
        3. One 45 mm gun with a coaxial machine gun, one machine gun next to the driver.
        4. Top speed: 60-70 kph
        5. Cruising range: 300 km
        6. Combat weight: no more than 7 tons
    3. The NKOP and NKMash must consider the maximum slope of all armoured plates of the hull and turret when designing armoured vehicles.
    4. To reduce the thickness of tank armour and improve its protection, the NKOP must expedite work on producing thick armour for breakthrough tanks, two-layered armour, and applique armour. Report on the result of work on improving the protection of armour to the Committee of Defense by October 1st, 1938.
  3. On tanks to produce in 1938-39
    1. Factory #174:
      1. Produce the following tanks in 1938:
        1. T-26 tank with a conical turret: regular and with a radio.
        2. Chemical T-26 tank with a cylindrical turret using Compressor factory chemical equipment.
        3. T-26 tank chassis for special vehicles.
      2. Produce the following tanks in 1939:
        1. Improved T-26 with a 120-130 hp engine, improved armour, sloped turret platform armour, conical turret, improved suspension and armament, including suggestions by the ABTU developed during the tank meeting (lists ##1, 2, 4). Improvements must allow interchangeability with existing T-26 tanks.
        2. An artillery tank with the L-10 gun in a turret installed in an improved T-26 tank with a sloped turret platform.
        3. A chemical tank and a special vehicle chassis based on the improved T-26.
        4. An improved T-26 tank with underwater driving equipment.
    2. Factory #183:
      1. Produce the following tanks in 1938:
        1. A BT-7 tank with a conical turret, M-17 engine, and 45 mm gun: both regular and with a radio.
        2. BT-8 tank with a conical turret, diesel engine, and 45 mm gun: both regular and with a radio starting in the second half of 1938.
        3. T-35 tank: with a cylindrical turret and hull from homogeneous armour until the 4th quarter of 1938, with conical turrets from homogenous armour and hull from cemented armour with front plate thickened to 60 mm and an L-10 gun in the 4th quarter of 1938.
      2. Produce the following tanks in 1939:
        1. Improved BT-8 tank with a diesel engine, improved armour protection, improved running gear, improvements made according to the ABTU (lists ##1, 2, 3). Improvements must be compatible with existing BT-7 tanks.
        2. BT-8 artillery tank with a 76 mm L-10 gun in the turret.
        3. BT-8 tank equipped for underwater driving.
        4. Improved T-35 tank with an M-17 650 hp engine, 76 mm L-10 gun, and changes developed by the ABUT (lists ##1, 2, 6). Improvements must be compatible with existing T-35 tanks.
    3. Factory #37:
      1. Be ready for the mobilization plan production of the T-38 until a replacement is ready. Cease peacetime production of the T-38.
      2. Prepare and perform trials of T-38 tanks improved with Komsomolets tractor components. Prepare mass production in case of war in 1939.
        The improved T-38 must have complete compatibility with T-37 and T-38 tanks.
    4. Factory #48:
      1. Production in 1938: experimental batch of BT-5-IS tanks with 6 drive wheels.
      2. Production in 1939: BT-7 chemical tank based on the prototype prepared by the Compressor factory using their equipment.
    5. Kirov factory:
      1. Production in 1938:
        1. T-28 tanks with improved running gear, cemented hull, and cylindrical main turret in the first half, with a conical turret and an L-10 gun in the second half.
        2. Produce one T-28 prototype with underwater driving equipment.
      2. Production in 1939:
        1. Improved T-28 tank with improved armour protection, improved running gear, conival main turret, and L-10 gun, along with changes developed by the ABTU (lists ##1, 2, 5). The improvements must be compatible with existing T-28 tanks.
        2. Improved T-28 tank with underwater driving equipment.
    6. Stalingrad Tractor Factory:
      1. Production in 1938:
        1. Pilot batch of T-26 tanks based on the 1937 model with a conical turret in preparation for production in 1939.
        2. T-26 tank based on the 1936 model with a conical turret for production in 1939.
        3. The shipyards and Red October factory are to mobilize for the 1938-1939 production year aiming to produce the model 1937 T-26 tank with a conical turret.
      2. Production in 1939:
        1. Pilot batch of improved T-26 tanks with a 120-130 hp engine, improved armour, sloped turret platform armour, conical turret, improved suspension and armament, including suggestions by the ABTU developed during the tank meeting (lists ##1, 2, 4). 
        2. T-26 tank model 1937 with a conical turret.
  4. The NKOP and NMash as well as the NKO (ABTU) must develop a plan within one month of the publishing of this decree to introduce design improvements into the T-26, BT-8, T-28, and T-35, including taking into account time for preparing production (lists ##1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
  5. Cease work on the following and remove from production as no longer satisfactory:
    1. T-46 tank.
    2. T-29 convertible drive tank.
    3. Convertible drive reconnaissance tank.
    4. AT-1 artillery tank.
    5. Self propelled 203 mm B-4 howitzer.
  6. Committee of Defense decree #94ss issued on August 15th, 1937, is cancelled.
Chairman of the Committee of Defense, V. Molotov
Secretary of the Committee of Defense, Brazilevich."

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